The Humboldt Broncos released their 2017-18 financial statement and revealed they received nearly $1.6 million in donations in just seven weeks after the April 6 tragedy.
Sixteen people were killed and 13 injured when the team’s bus and a semi collided at an intersection in eastern Saskatchewan.
The statement, which runs from April 1, 2017, to May 31, 2018, includes a section detailing “Tragedy Support” where it shows $167,383 was spent.
A breakdown of the expenses lists over $73,000 for travel, and nearly $60,000 for marketing.
Of the $60,000 allotted to marketing, roughly $48,000 was to a firm called Takt Communications.
“We worked with them for two months for that amount with as many as seven people, for the most part, four people working on the account. It was to do with crisis communications, media relations and website development,” Takt principal Grant Bastedo said.
Rawlco’s John Gormley was quick to comment on the fees.
Bastedo was quick to respond to Gormley’s critiques, noting the work was done at a discounted rate.
“We were billing at about 60 per cent off of our regular rate, and on top of that we were billing other projects — things like websites that we were developing — at cost,” Bastedo told Global News.
“Our normal rate is $150/hour and we worked for basically $61/hour and we did that because it was the right thing to do,” he continued.
Global News spoke with other public relations firms that handle crisis communications in the province. All the firms Global spoke to said the discounted rate Takt offered was well below market price and that his standard pricing is fair, one even saying it was on the low end.
Gormley also called out “some communications person” before adding moments later the same person was “a bit triggered.”
Tammy Robert is a senior publicist with Takt Communications, the company who handled media relations and communications for the Broncos in the aftermath of the tragedy. She was the “someone” referred to and wasted no time responding, admitting that she was paid for the work she did.
Robert stepped up at the time of the crash and offered her services, tweeting out that she “will not take a penny” for the work she did.
She later amended that statement, stating a contract was signed once the scope of the tragedy grew and gained national coverage.
Robert previously served as a producer on the Saskatchewan radio talk show, and has been called into question without being named on the show in the past.